100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

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SmashingSuccess
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100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by SmashingSuccess » April 12th, 2018, 5:32 am

I am a game developer who is making his own strategy game based around a wesnoth/fire emblem type combat system. Something that I have run into as far as design is concerned is how to create units once I finish programming.

So far, there are 3 things I want from my game:
No combat randomness
Ranged Units having ranged attacks via non-adjacent attacks
Balanced combat

I have an idea of where I want to start, I've started setting up each of the wesnoth units and fire emblem units in separate databases with 100% accuracy and started to look at what outcomes fell out of it. While I'm finishing that, I wanted to ask the Wesnoth community their thoughts on unit balance and combat balance outside of a 100% Wesnoth system. There are several advantages and drawbacks on many fronts, but I want to know if anyone sees things that I don't in this respect.


I look forward to your inquiry.

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StandYourGround
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by StandYourGround » April 12th, 2018, 5:40 am

One challenge you might have is that ranged units actually having range could negate the usefulness of melee units in general, unless they are nerfed to the point of being useless except in groups large enough to be cost prohibitive. Also, 100% accuracy and 0% resistances/defenses could create a situation where there is no benefit to variety of units, and the strategy simply becomes damage per second. In that case, it makes no realistic sense unless all combatants are laser guided robots or something. Having variety in accuracy, resistances, and defenses adds flavor and strategy to a game.

You can still do this while eliminating randomness, by making the probabilities deterministic. If a fighter is skilled such that he will land 60% of his strikes, then he lands exactly 3 out of every 5 strikes. If a fighter has an evasion of 30%, then 3 out of 10 arrows fired at him miss, and his 20% pierce resistance reduces the damage that amount. By having stats like this in a game, you actually have the variables you need to be able to work out balance. Without them, it's just chess. Which can be fun, but not really a game with a Wesnoth/fire emblem type combat system.
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SmashingSuccess
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by SmashingSuccess » April 12th, 2018, 5:55 am

There are other factors at play besides simply wesnoth style combat that I neglected to mention. Units also have Armor and Blocks, with straight up subtract damage per hit and straight up ignore whole attack strikes up to the cap, respectively. Most non-base units also have special abilities, such as pushing around other units on the battle field, creating terrain effects, and buffing/healing other units during combat.

Me not mentioning that was my bad. Sorry there. :?

Velensk
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Velensk » April 13th, 2018, 1:37 am

This is going to sound extreme but please don't dismiss it because it is.

My advise would simply be that all stats from the existing material are completely useless and not worth any effort to store/analyze in the context of the system you describe.

The dynamics of a game where the number of attacks a unit can take are not limited by the number of hexes adjacent to it a that you can access are fundamentally different than what Wesnoth has to offer. Allowing true ranged attacks alone redefines the effects of terrain, ToD, number of troops on the field, and almost every ability in the game. This is even ignoring the effects of deterministic combat and whatever other mechanics you throw onto it.
--Overall, if you have genuine range on attacks, you move further from a rough system with hard boolean results and closer to a very smooth system of overall value. Obviously there will still be hard boolean results within but the way a situations will need to be evaluated and what will be strong will be different. In wesnoth you will spend a lot of time evaluating whether you can hold a certain position as even an overwhelming number of enemies may not necessarily be able to break a position in a single turn and control of position and the time of engagement are the keymost factors in the result. Once you have ranged attacks, you cannot really hold positions against an army of a certain size as they will always be able to concentrate sufficient firepower to destroy any individual unit and at this point the question becomes is it worth the expenditure of resources to do this as opposed to picking other targets (and generally the attacker will have more control over which targets he has access to). Either way, the value of any type of unit changes so drastically that the current set of stats relative to cost and movement speed would be completely useless.

Start from the ground up, you have better odds of getting good results and would probably spend less time.
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Dixie » April 14th, 2018, 1:37 am

I agree with Velensk, if you change the founding principles of the system, the stats are 100% irrelevant and you are loosing your time. Define your key elements and build around them, from scratch or by analyzing other games withs similar features (I can't name any off the top of my head because I've been a bit out of the strategy game world lately but I don't doubt there are tons).

Aside from that, to reply to others, historically the use of ranged weapons was balanced by:
- Shields (read: armor) could protect against it somewhat;
- It was hard to aim very precisely, you might not have been able to target a hero or single out a target in most cases. Also, once the melee started, friendly fire could be an issue;
- It was mostly ineffective at close ranged;
- It was especially vulnerable to cavalery charges because their high speed made them hard to hit, if left unchecked they could swoop in and deal tremendous damage.

What this means for your game is that you can counter true range by:
- Don't push ranged unit's damage output through the roof so armored unit can resist them better;
- Don't give them too much mobility;
- Give them low armor;
- Have units that have movement ranges higher than the range of your archers so they can swoop in for attacks if there is an opening;
- Possibly have them targeting zones so precisely targeting a character is impossile and friendly fire can occur?
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Eagle_11 » April 14th, 2018, 8:47 am

- You can decrease damage over range via implementing an ranged penalty above a radius, see AoW3 tactical combat shooting mechanics.
- You can ensure Archers can get snared into melee, that way they will be forced to get protected by your other troops in order to shoot.
- Shooting at night was not preferrable, unless the creature has developed night vision or target area was well lit. You can emulate this by decreasing their max allowed radius or applying an accuracy penalty at night.

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Flameslash
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Flameslash » April 14th, 2018, 8:07 pm

There's a couple of Wesnoth add-ons you might want to look at.

There's a no randomness mod out there somewhere that still incorporates terrain defence, basically it has the terrain reduce the damage dealt by the unit's terrain defence - so on 60% terrain, a unit will only take 40% of the maximum damage.

The other is the true ranged mod, which lets ranged units attack a couple of hexes away.

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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by SmashingSuccess » April 16th, 2018, 11:00 pm

Overall, I agree with most of your analysis's (analyses? analysis'?). That being said, the statement that I can glean no information from testing Wesnoth units against each other using my own system as the base isn't entirely true. For starters, I already know that the units won't work balance-wise for the system, but that's not what I'm trying to test out of the gate. One of the largest factors I'm testing for is how many combat encounters it takes for Wesnoth units to kill each other with my 100% certainty system VS how long it does in the base wesnoth system.

This alone gives me a lot of information, foremostly(is that even a word?) it shows me why and how Wesnoth handles its combat, and how much I have to change my own systems in order to approximate the same level of combat-flow that Wesnoth has inherently. Like if it takes 20 rounds of combat to kill 1 mook, games are going to drag on into eons, but if they die in too few rounds of combat, then the units either suck inherently or aren't balanced properly. There are a lot more data points available other than merely how good or how bad a unit is.



As a side note: My design philosophy with his game is to make the game have as much combat depth as possible without using percentages. So, I can kinda get-behind the whole percentage ranged damage falloff over distance, it'd have to be changed to whole number integers for my particular game.

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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Velensk » April 17th, 2018, 11:22 pm

Even then I don't think you'll find it all that useful.

The kind of content design you are describing really depends a lot more on what feeling/dyanmics you are hoping to invoke than having an inmate sweet spot that Wesnoth happens to be at. In chess it takes a single attack to destroy all pieces whereas in Squad Leader it can remarkably difficult to permanently destroy enemies in solid cover even with repeated attacks. Both games work.

Wesnoth will generally be focused around the idea of three solid attacks being the typical threshold for having a decent chance to kill with tougher units surviving more, and higher attack units possibly breaking faster. All modulations to this setup end up being reflected as better or worse odds of various results. Why? Because in a formation a typical unit can be attacked from two hex sides and a unit in an exposed position relative to an enemy army can be attacked on three. To get access to more you must break through, flank, or be in a messy situation where formations have broken down. This creates a fundamental dynamic where armies in wesnoth generally cannot immediately break each other in direct assaults but must either aim for vulnerable positions, rely on multi-turn attrition, use special units that fall outside the general curve, or get a solid flanking position. This is a set of dynamics that can work but it is again, based on the idea that you can only get as many attacks on a single target as you can access spaces next to that target. Once you throw in true range, the number of attacks it takes to kill a unit no longer means what it did before and you have a game that will feel very different.

I would argue that it would be amazingly difficult to the point of being impossible to create a game that 'feels like' wesnoth using the rules you described and that it's a poor idea to even aim for it or use it as a model. It'd be better to try out a range of various TtKs (modified by whatever other effects you want to be relevant) until you find another set of dynamics that work. Games that depict firearm combat will frequently go for situations where it is (at base value) difficult to move in the open while there are unsurpassed hostiles in the area but require a positional advantage to concentrate sufficient firepower to effectively destroy enemies. From that point, to break the innate stalemate that kind of situation sets up they'll allow special options and use maps with very detailed terrain that provide options to maneuver despite the innate difficulty. Fantasy game often use characters of a more heroic stature than your typical war-game where you have fewer pieces but these pieces (or specific pieces within your forces) take quite a bit of effort to go down. In those situations it might be expected that even in a completely untenable position, tougher units will not go down in a single round. All of these things can work. There's nothing magical about wesnoth's feel/numbers that doesn't directly come from the mechanics they operate on.
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by SmashingSuccess » April 18th, 2018, 6:47 am

I mean, we can argue it all we want back and forth, but at the end of the day, I find useful information in this data where you don't. That's not a jab or a slight, that's a just a difference in perspective.

At this point I think this thread has kinda gone as far as its gonna go. We've stopped talking about what changes it makes to gameplay itself and have shifted into whether or not the data I'm gathering is going to be useful. The person who is always gonna decide that is me since I'm the one gathering and using said data, so we're just talking in circles at this point.

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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by taptap » April 22nd, 2018, 8:11 pm

What is unique in Wesnoth is imo that it feels like a war game (where you shuffle around divisions and army corps complete w/ ZoC rules) while you are ostensibly playing single fantasy units. This feel is completely abandoned by removing chance and adding ranged attacks. A lot of other rules could change w/o damage to this core (e.g. % damage reduction vs. flat damage reduction makes little difference). Another crucial theme in Wesnoth is time of day - a rhythmical change in battlefield conditions absent in many other games.

Your system feels much more like Fire Emblem (Heroes) to be honest.

There are other TBS games (w/o fantasy setting) that have rules much more similar to what you envision than Wesnoth. It is probably worthwhile to look into them as well.
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Re: 100% Accuracy. 0% Resistances/Defenses. Effect on Wesnoth?

Post by Xaius » April 26th, 2018, 6:03 am

One strategy game I like that doesn't have rng would be great big war game (a full pc game based on big little war game). The game heavily uses a sort of rock paper scissors effectiveness system, as well as high importance on positioning. For example, grenadiers are great against vehicles, and deal aoe damage, but can be easily picked off by anti personel units or units that can get under their minimum range. Wesnoth and fire emblem don't have tanks of course, but you could do a similar axe v sword system to determine who wins a fight and mages for aoe, etc. I do enjoy the rng aspect of wesnoth forcing you to have backup plans, and lack of always having to deal with ranged units, but you can definitely make a game without these properties that works quite well.

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